https://youtube.com/watch?v=rXodSqMpuUQ

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new role in a series of movie shorts that encourage all Californians to go electric when purchasing their next vehicle.

Schwarzenegger joined forces with the non-profit Veloz for “Kicking Gas,” described as an edgy, funny series of movie shorts as part of its “Electric for All” campaign.

“We chose humor — not fear or fury like some people — because negative emotions are burning people out,” Schwarzenegger said. “Humor, on the other hand, lights people up. Besides, we figure the world could use a little laughter just about now.”

In the episodes, Schwarzenegger goes undercover as a frustrated car salesman, sporting a fake mustache and wig, trying to get customers who want to buy an electric car to purchase a gas vehicle instead. Some customers recognize him, while others play along with the joke.

In one of the videos, Schwarzenegger’s character tries to persuade a couple looking at an electric vehicle to purchase instead a gas-powered Hummer, which is what Schwarzenegger used to drive.

“Tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger has no problem making fun of himself,” said Mary Nichols, who serves on the Veloz leadership team. “For some members of our unlikely coalition, this campaign is tricky and treads difficult territory. Change is hard. But everyone knows the future is electric, and California, for one, is committed to capturing the market advantage.”

Schwarzenegger and Veloz hope to use the campaign to bring about public awareness of electric cars. A survey released Thursday by Veloz showed concerns such as cost, range of the vehicle and charging stations were disappearing and a lack of public awareness was the largest obstacle to growing the electric-car market.

“Over 16 years ago, I set out to prove that you can have the car you love and the clean air you need,” said Schwarzenegger. “I greened my fleet of personal cars, including my Hummers. And I challenged the auto industry to do the same. They now have the electric vehicle technology to out-compete gas-powered cars.”

When Schwarzenegger was governor of California, his administration established the first climate pollution cap in the United States and mandated vehicle emissions reductions to meet it.

Veloz is a nonprofit organization made up of a high-powered, diverse board and members from key sector companies, agencies and non-profits. Veloz organizes the “Electric For All” campaign, the largest and most inventive multi-stakeholder public-awareness campaign for electric cars in the United States.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.